September 11, 2009 / 1:47 PM / 9 years ago

Whitening strips safe in those with dry mouth

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Patients with dry mouth caused by medications they are taking can safely use 10% hydrogen peroxide whitening strips, researchers report online by the journal Gerontology.

Reduced production of saliva is thought to make people poor candidates for tooth whitening, said Dr. Athena S. Papas in an email message to Reuters Health.

Dr. Papas, from Tufts University in Boston, and her colleagues conducted a randomized trial in 42 adults on drugs that cause dry mouth - also called xerogenic medications. In this study, such medications were primarily drugs to treat high blood pressure and depression.

For two weeks, people in the study applied either 10% hydrogen peroxide whitening strips or placebo strips - inactive strips — for 30 minutes, twice a day. Forty people completed the study.

“In this study, all of the subjects in the peroxide strip group had objectively measured tooth whitening (reduction in yellowness and increased brightness), and the magnitude of the whitening increased with continued whitening strip use,” Dr. Papas said. “As expected, the placebo strip response (no peroxide) was flat.”

Both treatments were well tolerated. The most common side effects were oral irritation and tooth sensitivity. No one withdrew due to a product-related side effect.

“Tooth whitening is one of the most common cosmetic procedures, and for most individuals, the first step in aesthetic dentistry,” Dr. Papas said. However, some elderly people have heard that dry mouth makes them poor candidates for tooth whitening.

“This new clinical trial demonstrates that peroxide-based strip whitening can be a viable first step in aesthetic treatment for older adults or individuals” who produce less saliva, she added.

The whitening strips used in the study were manufactured by The Proctor & Gamble Company, which employs two of the paper’s five authors.

Gerontology 2009.

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